REVIEW: Dreadzone at Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Dreadzone      Picture: Sarah Read
Dreadzone Picture: Sarah Read

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To get a gig beyond great to the lofty peak of Gig Of The Year needs an audience as strong and in tune as the band.

At a packed, steamy Wedgewood Rooms, this came to fruition.

Dreadzone have been honing their unique blend of homegrown cool for about 15 years, their pedigree is one of the best of the post-punk heyday.

They take elements of rock and crisp dance beats, stir it into the pot with the lodestone of roots reggae, ska and dancehall, the resultant alchemy explodes to perfection.

Lead vocalist Tim Bran and sparring partner Earl 16 take no prisoners, bouncing, rudeboy skanking and trading their voices from cavernous bass statements of Life, Love and Liberty to the viciously playful.

Meanwhile, gangster outbreaks of deep electro-dub jostle with Middle-Eastern flourishes and stabbing samples.

The crowd rose with Dreadzone, grins cracked across sweaty faces and they danced as if possessed by St Vitus – some of the best dancing I’ve seen outside of a Northern soul night.

The atmosphere seethed and crackled with the onslaught of this one band indoor festival. If you have never seen Dreadzone before, watch out, they just might gatecrash your family Christmas dinner.

JIM CRUTTENDEN